Having a loved one who is suffering from a dual diagnosis can be a tumultuous time, ripe with complex and intense emotions. While it can be a difficult time of change for all involved, learning to support a loved one through their experiences is essential for navigating recovery. Effectively supporting a loved one in an educated manner can make a huge difference throughout the entirety of the recovery journey. It can also be the cornerstone for developing the genuine relationship needed to support a loved one from their first steps into the recovery sphere to establishing a new, healthy identity.
Do Your Research
Dual diagnosis can look different for each individual. Each person will suffer differently from diagnoses like anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder. The substances that a person used in the past, their relationships, environment, and coping strategies all play a role in how one addresses their recovery. As a result, dual diagnosis is a very complex and nuanced situation that demands a highly personalized approach catered to one’s particular experiences. As a support, it is necessary to educate oneself as much as possible on all of the different aspects of a loved one’s diagnosis.
For example, researching the science behind the chemical effects of addiction can go a long way. Understanding the different ways in which depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia can manifest is essential in gaining a baseline understanding of how a person may feel or act. Research into these conditions can also allow an individual to begin learning and employing a specific language that is paramount to effective communication. This can effectively open a new way to communicate in a common lexicon.
Avoid Blame and Judgment
A loved one suffering from a mental health condition and a substance abuse disorder can be an incredibly emotional time. There can be a lot of friction between loved ones caused by addiction and mental health disorders. Being able to let go of judgment and blame is necessary to create a focused recovery plan. While the recovery process may be filled with guilt and shame, it is important that supports are willing to forgive or avoid adding to such blame.
Blame and judgment can continue to cause friction and additional stress throughout one’s recovery journey. This can also lead to a great deal of self-doubt in one’s recovery, increasing the chances that an individual may relapse or plateau in their recovery.
Make Small, Frequent Gestures of Support
Even the smallest gestures of support can be incredibly impactful all throughout an individual’s recovery. While it can be tempting to give grand gifts throughout the process, the more subtle, intimate instances of showing support can prove to be just as effective.
The power of these small gestures comes from their inherent intimacy, as a series of small ways in which an individual feels connected to another person. This can include things like cooking for a loved one, trying out a new hobby, or expressing interest in a recently discovered therapeutic technique. Even helping out with transportation so that they can continue exploring personal interests are all important parts of the recovery process that can be facilitated by the support of a loved one.
These small gestures or gifts presented throughout recovery all work to reinforce the idea that the loved one is supported. It also reinforces the exact kind of personal relationship that one shares with another.
Keep Conversation Going
Communication is paramount throughout recovery and effective communication strategies are essential in order to catch signs of relapse or emotional turmoil early enough to be addressed in an effective and efficient manner. However, sometimes such conversations can be difficult to maintain.
Keeping the conversation open and moving can lead to the best results. However, these conversations do not necessarily always have to revolve around the difficulties or intricacies of recovery. Rather, taking time to sit down and talk about a television show or the most recent celebrity news can all help keep relationships developing. It can also provide an avenue for open dialogue in case difficulties arise and need to be discussed. A phone call a day, a text message of a short, funny story that happened that morning on one’s walk, or an email with a picture of one’s day are all ways to simply keep a conversation active. Furthering encouragement of the idea of open and honest dialogue can create a feeling of companionship through the day and an easy lifeline for the more difficult times of one’s recovery.
A loved one suffering from a dual diagnosis can be a very emotional journey and learning to help a loved one through this time is essential. At Everlast Recovery, we understand the unique and difficult nuances presented by dual diagnosis and are ready to help you and your loved one navigate your recovery journey in a way that is personal to you. Our comprehensive detox and residential care programs are designed to prioritize an atmosphere of community and understanding, working to develop your coping strategies while providing support. We also offer a family therapy program to help families learn to communicate and understand the unique recovery process, helping to bolster an effective, forward-looking environment and support. For more information on how we can help you and your loved one take the first step in their recovery journey or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call Everlast Recovery Centers today at (866) 388-6925.